Zimbabwe unity government on the brink of collapse

The meeting of the three principals is routine but the only difference this time is that it is coming against the background of “absolute anger and frustration in the Zanu-PF Politburo at the non-placard disposition of the MDC regarding outstanding issues." Last Thursday Zanu PF politburo meeting called on Mugabe, to repel further pressure from the MDC which wants Zanu PF to commit itself into fulfilling outstanding issues to the GPA.

The MDC is keen to see the unilateral appointments by Mugabe of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana revisited as they were done in violation of the GPA. The MDC is agitated by the apparent refusal by Mugabe to swear in its officials that have been nominated to take up posts for provincial governorship.

The MDC also wants Zanu PF to stop the systematic prosecution of its legislators who continue to be arrested for crimes involving theft, electoral fraud, rape, inciting public violence, among others. The MDC says the prosecutions are a deliberate attempt by Zanu PF to trim its razor thin parliamentary majority.

During Monday’s meeting, Mugabe is expected to ask his colleagues how far they have played their part in fulfilling their own obligations. Zanu PF spokesperson, Ephraim Masawi told journalists at the weekend that Zanu PF was not happy with the MDC’s failure to stop the operations of so-called pirate radio stations based abroad but broadcasting into Zimbabwe.

Zanu PF says the MDC has not done enough in actively advocating for the lifting of targeted sanctions imposed on the country and its politicians by the West, an assertion which the MDC has vehemently dismissed.

But in a statement, the MDC blamed the imposition of sanctions on Mugabe’s repressive rule in the past decade, which has been characterized by the arrest of political opponents, journalists and the open manipulation of electoral systems to secure an easy victory. "The world is clear that the so-called sanctions are a result of Zanu PF’s past sins of omission and commission," said the MDC.

"The onus is on Zanu PF itself to morph into a civilised political party that does not believe in the primitive and feudal coercive politics of machetes and knobkerries. The MDC cannot be held accountable for Zanu PF’s political misfortunes and the barbaric image it has carved out for itself in the eyes of Africa and the world ’ said the MDC.

Meanwhile, the MDC has said it does not accept any responsibility for the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western nations. Responding to accusations by Zanu-PF on Friday, the MDC said President Robert Mugabe’s party had invited the sanctions on the country through acts of lawlessness and human rights violations.

In a statement, the MDC said it had done all it could to have sanctions lifted but denied responsibility for the punitive measures on Zimbabwe.

Zanu-PF accused the two MDC parties of failure to denounce the continued existence of Western-imposed target sanctions they had allegedly campaigned for.

Addressing the media on Friday, Zanu-PF spokesperson Ephraim Masawi went further to declare his party would not be pushed into making any more concessions on the Global Political Agreement (GPA) because the MDC had failed to follow through on its own part of the bargain.

Masawi said the sanctions were hurting both the country and affected families among Zanu-PF politicians who were still being barred from visiting Western capitals.

He decried the failure by the MDC to end the activities of so-called pirate radio stations run by Zimbabwean journalists who were forced into exile by President Robert Mugabe’s repressive regime.

He said Mugabe had not violated the GPA when he unilaterally re-appointed his former banker Gideon Gono central bank governor, and appointed Johannes Tomana as Attorney-General.

Masawi alleged it was Mugabe’s prerogative to appoint 10 provincial governors and resident ministers.

The MDC described Masawi’s utterances as scandalous and denied calling for the imposition of the sanctions. The MDC is adamant it has done all it could to call for the removal of the sanctions.

The MDC shifted the blame on Zanu-PF which it says has invited the wrath of the sanctions on Zimbabwe through alleged failure to observe the rule of law.

The MDC insists that only a complete departure from the culture of impunity that has become the hallmark of Zanu-PF rule over the past decade can save the country from the effects of any sanctions.

“The world is clear that the so-called sanctions are a result of Zanu-PF’s past sins of omission and commission,” the MDC statement said.

“The onus is on Zanu-PF itself to morph into a civilised political party that does not believe in the primitive and feudal coercive politics of machetes and knobkerries.

“The MDC cannot be held accountable for Zanu-PF’s political misfortunes and the barbaric image it has carved out for itself in the eyes of Africa and the world.”

Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, who heads the smaller MDC, are party to the GPA.

The GPA, among some of its clauses, calls on the parties to denounce the sanctions.

Zanu-PF, which embarked on a controversial land reform programme that has completely destroyed the country’s agro-based economy, says Western-imposed sanctions are the sole cause of the collapse.

The MDC says it is in fact Zanu-PF which has violated the GPA by standing in the way of constitutional reform and by delaying media reforms while maintaining a stranglehold on the public media.

The MDC further accuses Zanu-PF of persecuting political opponents, reneging on agreed reform processes and refusing to swear-in officials legally seconded to the inclusive government by their political parties such as its national treasurer, Roy Bennett.

Unlike, Zanu-PF, the MDC says it has stuck to democratic norms by appointing elected MPs to ministerial posts.

“Contrary to the ranting by Zanu-PF,” says the MDC, “it is not Zanu-PF which appointed MDC ministers, but the people of Zimbabwe appointed an entire MDC government on 29 March (2008).

“It is Zanu-PF which got accommodated into an MDC government through a political settlement.”

Tsvangirai defeated President Mugabe in the March presidential elections but the long- serving leader muscled his way back into power after a two-month orgy of State-sponsored violence which killed more than 200 people, mostly MDC supporters.

Tsvangirai pulled out of the race at the eleventh hour citing the violence which also forced a number of his party officials into hiding.